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Balancing Cardio Exercises for Weight Training

This is a guest post from Shaun Sinclair, a former athlete turned fitness guru. Check out his site at

Ever since I have begun training, I have met a lot of different people who strive for optimum fitness. Most of them knew that both cardio and resistance training are essential to achieving overall ‘good’ fitness, but the one thing they always seem to stumble upon is how to train and balance both to avoid conflict of interest.


Which do I do more… cardiovascular, or resistance training?

There is no one correct answer for everyone, but to determine how one can find an answer, they would need to consider these 3 key factors.

    – Your goals
    – Your body type
    – Type of cardio training

Take myself for example.

At 6’2” in height with a mesomorph body type (Lose weight, gain muscle easily), my goal has always been to gain and maintain muscle mass. Therefore I try to keep my cardio training sessions to 2 times a week. Any more than that, then I will hamper my muscle gaining efforts by slowing recovery and burning up calories that my body needs for the process of building muscle.

The importance of setting goals

I have talked about this before, but the key thing here is to set goals and time limits. A goal with no time limit is no goal. It is also very important that you focus on one thing.

You are either,

Building muscle


Burning fat

Not both

It is a known fact that when we focus on to many things at the same time, we often begin to fail. It is no different with training and exercise. The training methods involved with ‘burning fat’ and ‘gaining muscle’ is very different and both tend not to mix very well. So focus on one or the other.

Determine your body type

To begin with there are 3 general body types.

    – Ectomorph
    – Endomorph
    – Mesomorph



The ectomorph body types are those skinny individuals that you may know of that seem to be able to shovel any and everything into their guts with out putting on any weight what so ever. An ectomorphs body would mainly consist of muscle. More muscle on a body would burn more calories, even when stationary, so these body types have a pretty easy time keeping the weight off. If this is you then you will probably be trying to gain muscle. If so then you will want to,

    – Lay off cardio sessions completely (in order to have enough recovery energy available for your body to even build muscle).
    – Keep your cardio sessions to once or twice a week.
    – Possibly do less weight training sessions, as doing to many can also hamper your weight gaining efforts.



This is the person that you will always hear complaining that they need to lose weight, and rightfully so. Individuals with this body type tend to gain weight and hold on to fat, hence the reasons why they have a hard time losing weight. The key thing these individuals will want to do is,

    – Do cardio training exercises 2-3 times a week
    – Possibly 5-6 times for the best results



These body types have all the luck (myself included). As I had previously stated, the mesomorph types are those who are naturally muscular, can gain muscle and lose fat easily. They tend to have broad shoulders and tiny waistlines, similar to your usual animated super hero. While both ectomorph and endomorph body types struggle to find a balance with cardio and resistance training, the mesomorph doesn’t. They don’t need to worry too much about either, because their greater muscle mass helps them burn more calories. (Again… more muscle on a body will burn more calories, even when stationary)

Choose your cardio training method

Choosing the right type of cardio training is essential in achieving the results that you would have set out in your goals. To do so, one must choose the right type of cardio training. There are 3 types.

    – Low intensity
    – Moderate intensity
    – High intensity

Low intensity cardio training

This would consist of activities such as walking or slow cycling. Regardless of which body type you are, doing these activities on a daily basis won’t have much of an impact on your weight gaining efforts, as your body can recover quite quickly and shortly after doing them. You also get to burn a few calories in the process.

Moderate intensity training

This would consist of activities such as swimming and jogging. These activities require more energy to perform them and require a longer time for your muscles to recover from.
Those aiming for weight loss should do 4-6 sessions a week, while those aiming for weight gain should do 2-3 sessions a week.

High intensity training

This type of cardio training is the toughest of them all and requires a good level of fitness to perform. This type of training involves activities such as sprinting and interval training. If you’ve ever been a part of a winning team or had an award winning coach as an athlete, then they would have pushed you to your limits and that is what would be classed as high intensity training. This type of training is quite simply,

Hard and fast!

The great thing about high intensity training is that in addition burning a lot of calories, you will also be boosting your metabolism, which is essential for keeping the weight off when trying to lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight then you may want to try doing this type of training at least once or twice a week. It will give you a really good kick-start towards your weight loss goals. I wouldn’t suggest doing this more than once or twice a week because it really does take it’s toll on the body, and you will take much longer to recover.

To conclude

When trying to find a balance for optimum fitness these are the 3 factors that you need to identify first. Everyone’s goals will be different and for the most part it will depend on how much time you have available to you. These rules are not the be all and end all by any means, but use it as a guideline and feel free to experiment. Once you do, you will eventually find what works for you in order to find a good balance for cardio and resistance training.

How have you balanced your cardio and weight training exercises?

See you in the comments or check us out over at

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9 Responses to “Balancing Cardio Exercises for Weight Training”

  1. Adam L Says:

    Cardio is a hate love relationship that is for sure. Hate to do it but love the results. I am 6’1 195lbs but def put on weight like a sumo aka Endomorph guy. I run 4 plus days a week and have been hitting the sprints more so, due to motivating from Smitty and a goal I have set for myself to do before Thanksgiving; a 2:40 in a 880yard sprint in boots and utilities (cammies) for part of the Marine Corps combat fitness test. I lift atleast 3 times AMD for the win! I still get looks of “why the hell is that guy sweeting so much what is he doing I am not”, lol KICKIN ASS is what!!!

    Thanks Diesel Crew

  2. Jim Smith Says:

    Keep up the good work, Adam.


  3. dixon Says:

    thnku jedd .

  4. dixon Says:

    hi jedd, most of us in the gym had been arguing about this topic since long time.But even myself [a doctor by proffession]was not able to point out the relavance of body structure in deciding how much cardio u require. excellent observation!! congratulations!

  5. Richard Says:

    Jedd, Thanks for sharing this post. It seems like a no-brainer to connect body type with the right amount of cardio. I am fortunate to be a mesomorph and Tabata intervals work wonders for helping me shred fat.

    The post talks about recovery time from cardio, but what about the other direction? What are normal recovery times after resistance training before doing various cardio training?

    Thanks for all the inspiration and innovation the Diesel Crew provides! I love your sledge hammer training info.

  6. Shaun Says:

    Thanks for the comments guys. @ Dixon, this is definitely always a hot topic in the gym. But it really is about the individual goal.

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